E3D V6 Hotend Upgrade

Parts for this section

The Extruder
This is the device that takes the filament, heats it, and then places it exactly where needed to make your 3D print. It's main parts are:
  • The hot end                    ... melts the plastic 
  • The extruder                  ... grabs filament from the spool and pushes to hot end 
  • The mounting                ... holds the extruder and hot end in place
The J-Head hotend is a perfectly fuctional hotend but has some real limitations once you pick-up a bit of experience. The E3D V6 on the other hand is a real pleasure to work with an maintain.
Some of it's remarkable features include:
  • Ability to change the nozzle without changing the entire hotend
  • Incredible range of nozzles from 0.25mm to 1.20mm diameter
  • Extremely efficient cooling system to prevent clogging of the hotend tower
  • Compact and light weight
  • Can take it completely appart and rebuild it to isolate problems
  • Looks very cool !
  • ED3 V6 Hotend kit includes:
           - cooling tower
           - heat break (threaded metal tube)
           - 20mm Fan
           - Fan mount
           - 4 screws for fan mount
           - brass nozzle (0.50mm dia.)
           - heating block
           - Heat resistor (heating element)
           - Thermistor
           - Wires for thermistor
           - 4 ferrules 
           - 1 washer
           - 2 fastening screws for heating block
           - PFTE tube for thermistor leads (wires)
           - PFTE tube for heat resistor leads (wires)
           - PFTE tube to guide filament into hot end
           - PFTE tube holder

Hot End

The E3D V6 which is manufactured by E3D comes in several variations to suit your particular needs. It's available in both Bowden and Direct feed types, and each type has a variation that can accomodate either 1.75mm or 3.00mm filaments. There's also an entire range of nozzles available ranging from 0.25mm to 1.20mm for higher volume/larger print jobs. Swapping nozzles is also relatively easy ...just heat-up your hotend and use the key to unscrew the old one and screw-in the new one.
Here are the main types of hot ends from E3D: 
Hot Ends                                            Type              Filament Dia.           Nozzle Diameter
- Single (e.g. J-Head or E3D)             Bowden            1.75mm                  0.25mm      High precision low speed
- Double (e.g. Chimera)                     Direct               3.00mm                   0.30mm
- Quad  (e.g. Kraken)                                                                                     0.35mm
                                                                                                                         0.40mm      Balanced
                                                                                                                         1.20mm      Low precision high speed
Several models of the E3D V6 and nozzles are available in our webshop.
Beyond nozzle switching, the most important feature of the E3D V6 is the extremely efficient and reliable cooling tower. The ovesized heat sink does a great job to prevent "heat creep" up the feeder during long print jobs. With other models this becomes a problem since longer prints keep the heating block hot for longer and as time passes the feeder tower gets hotter and hotter until the filament in the feeder tower gets very soft. Then when the extruder pushes more filament down towards the hot end, the filament doesn't push. Imaging that you are using a thing long wax candle to push on an object, as the object heats up, as you push the candle it simply melts and fails to move the object. Then when the hot end cools, everything gets jammed !
The E3D V6 avoid all this problem by creating  a heat break between the feeder tower and the heating block.
The heat chart below shows the effectiveness of the cooling tower (heat sink tower) to prevent the heat generated by the heat resistor in the heating block from creeping up the upper chamber of the hotend. The filament remains firm and capable of pushing the melted plastic through the heating block and avoiding clogging the upper chamber.
Anatomy of the E3D V6 Hotend

Heat Block

Three parts are required for the heat block.
Loosely screw in the nozzle into the heat block until the threads are in, and without the head of the nozzle touching the heat block.
Loosely screw in the heat break into the heat block, opposite the nozzle, until fully in but not overly tight. The final tightening will be done once the hotend is heated.
The head of the thermistor is a glass bead which is relatively fragile.
Insert a ferrule at the end of each lead, and bed the lead in a "j" shape.
Fold the ends of the red and black wires of the thermistor wires in a "j" shape and hook them together. Polarity doesn't matter for the thermistor. 
A view of all the parts.
Slide the ferrules over the red and black wires to cover the all the "j" s.
Crush the ferrules with a pair of pliers to insure that a contact is made and is solid. This is a quick alternative to soldering.
Once assembled
Cut a small piece of kapton tape and wrap it around the contact. Kapton tape is heat resistant and non-conductive. 
Kapton tape can be tricky to work with, but keep in mind that it sticks very well to itself. So fold the sticky parts together and wrap.
Trim excess tape
Repeat with the other lead
Using the same idea, place a piece of kapton tape underneath the thermistor leads all the way up to the glass bead.
Fold the tape together, making sure that the two leads do not touch. Gently press your finger nail between the leads up to the glass bead.
Fold a second time
Trim the excess tape while leaving enough to insure a good adhesion. 
To assemble the thermistor into the heating block you will need more caption tape, the thermistor screw and heatsink compound.
Insert a little bit of heatsink compound in the tiny hole in the top right (white). The screw will be inserted on the side of the heating block.
Insert the glass bead of the thermistor in the hole with the heatsink compound to insure good thermal conductivity between the heating block and then thermistor. Once in place, screw in the small screw to hold the thermistor in place.
Tape the thermistor leads to the heating block for additional resilience. Get the heat resistor.
Insert the heat resistor in the other hole, and secure it in place by tightening the longer heat resistor screw.  The two metal part of the heating block will squeeze the heat resistor in place once tightened.
Here's your assembly.
A view from other angles.
You'll need the PFTE tube, the cooling tower (heat sink tower) and the PFTE tube holder. Insert the PFTE tube in the heat break.
Slide on and screw in the cooling tower. Once in place, on the PFTE tube, mark the top of the cooling tower so you can cut it with an exacto knife later. (For Bowden type do not cut the PFTE tube.)
The PFTE tube holder will be inserted in the top of the cooling tower and the PFTE tube will be pushed in through it. This picture gives the idea but the black piece will inside the silver part.
Insert the PFTE tube holder.
View from the top of the cooling tower.
Push the cut length of the PFTE tube all the way down until its flush. (If using Bowden approach, the tube would extend beyond.)
Now you'll need the assembled hotend, the 20mm fan, the 4x fan screws, and the fan mount.
Note that the fan mount has a top and bottom. The lip in placed at the bottom.
Place the fan on the fan mount, and fasten in with the 4 screws.
The assembled fan mount.
Just snap it on to the cooling tower. It won't melt.
Congratulations, it's complete ! 
Now all that you have to do is insert the E3D V6 hotend into the extruder mount. The idea is that the top of the E3D V6 hotend has a narrow neck between two wider parts. Insert the narrow part in the hole such that when you fasten the yellow rectangular part, it holds in place. If it's a bit lose, add layers of kapton tape to the neck of the E3D V6.   
Enjoy !
The Coyote.
The neck is the narrow part that is held by the extruder mount.